A while back I found myself in the middle of doing something and thinking, Why on Earth did I agree to do this?
There’s a question that helps you avoid accepting invitations you’ll later regret: “Would I do it tomorrow?”
Here’s David Plotz to explain (who learned it from his wife Hanna Rosin, and her friend, New Yorker staff writer Margaret Talbot):
That’s it—those five words. Not: Would I do it on some theoretical day in the future? This is the crucial question: Would I upend whatever I am doing tomorrow so that I can go there and do that?
Are they paying you enough to skip your daughter’s soccer game tomorrow? Is the panel interesting enough that you don’t mind asking your colleague to cover for you, tomorrow? Is the conference important enough to your career that you would blow off your college roommate’s visit, which is tomorrow. When you get the invitation, pay no attention at all to its far-flung date: Move it mentally to tomorrow.
Tomorrow makes decisions simple…
A little extreme, maybe, but it helps me just a teensy bit more than Derek Sivers’ Hell Yeah or No. (I posted this on Twitter and James Kochalka responded,“ If I lived by that creed i’d just never do anything, I think. And also be happier.”)
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Related reading: the “Learn to say no” section in Keep Going.